Search for your passion -- if you haven't already found it. And keep it simple. Bert Jacobs discovered his at an early age and with optimism, co-founded the brand -- Life is good. On Thursday, at the PTTOW! Youth Media Summit, an invite-only annual event focused on the young adult market, I had the pleasure of listening to his views on business as an agent for social change.
Drawn to simplicity and childlike appeal, Jacobs taps the company's clothing line as a vehicle to deliver a positive message -– Life is good. He believes the company grew from $8,700 in the mid-1990s to $100 million in 2010 by listening to customers -- whether retail stores or consumers -- and by creating a hero as a symbol of optimism and open-mindedness.
The simple stick figure -- Jake, which eventually gave birth to Jackie -- lives on T-shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel in a variety of activities that appeal to the masses. The brothers tapped into a Jungian theory that appeals to ideas that span generations -- not just one -- which literary experts suggest leads to the creation of classic novels.
"We didn't get into the clothing business because we love clothing," Jacobs said. "To be honest, I didn't really care about clothing then, and I don't really care about it today. But clothing is a vehicle for a message. We were involved in art and communication."
Simplicity in communication creates clarity in paid-search ad messages too. As search marketers, the next time you think about crafting a message in a paid-search ad or copy for a Web site promotion, keep it simple and concise. Studies have shown that that consumers will click and buy with a higher degree of success when the message is kept concise and simple -- especially when it comes to mobile. It's also a reminder of a mantra that experts at Google have chanted for years.
So when putting together paid-search campaigns, think big. Think about how that paid-search campaign will integrate with social, display, video, and location-based mobile campaigns. The Life is good retail clothing line didn't stop at clothing. The company added a music festival to raise money and help kids overcome poverty, violence and other adversities.
Late last year, the festival achieved a fund-raising goal of $1 million for the Life is good Playmakers, the action arm of the Life is good Kids Foundation. One hundred percent of the profits from ticket sales, sponsors and on-site apparel sales went to the Life is good Kids Foundation. Adults and kids alike showed up to enjoy a variety of music, from Ray LaMontagne, Avett Brothers, Boston Pop, Brandi Carlile and Levon Helm Band.
And in the words of Jacobs, take time this weekend to "run like a dog." Dogs just run, happily. They're not checking their Apple iPhone or Google Android phone for messages. They just experience the run. Take time to run like a dog.